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Test Cricket: The Summer Review

Updated: Jan 4

(Image - "Old Trafford cricket ground"by Leif Hinrichsen is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

So ends the final Test Cricket of the English summer.

It's been a summer in which we thought we’d see no cricket at all, let alone Test Cricket. This series alone has had it all, from the against-all-odds nail biter England win in the first game, the dour day and a half play in the second Test and the game where we ran out of time in the third.

But what have we learned from this condensed summer of Test Cricket?

1. England are at the beginning of a test team rebuild

The World Cup win last summer was the culmination of four years of focus towards ODI cricket. Now we’re seeing that focus shift towards Test Cricket once again. There seems to have been a shift away from trying to cram in fantastic ODI batsmen into whites and more towards pushing young red-ball cricketers such as Zak Crawley, Dom Bess and Dom Sibley. It’s early days and this younger cohort will not always be able to win Tests on their own and they’ll make mistakes but it should make for great viewing.

2. The West Indies should never be underestimated

It’s become a cliche from the beginning of every Test Series against the West Indies, they’re not a test team. By the end, a different cliche is being brought out, ‘never underestimate the West Indies’. This is a fantastic team, the bowling attack is one of the best in the world. If they had a few extra batsmen, they’d be unbelievably dangerous. Tell me cricket in the West Indies is dying and I’ll point to the abundance of cricketers still being produced by these, relatively, tiny cricketing islands.

3. Babar Azam isn’t quite ready to break in with the big boys

For the last four years or so, at various points, people have pointed to the best batsmen in the world being the big 4: Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith and (to a lesser extent) Joe Root. Now we have a new entry. With Joe Root turning 30 by the end of the year the former big four will all be the wrong side of 30 and we will begin to look towards the next generation of superstars. This was the summer where we really expected to see the best out of Babar like we’ve seen from Smith, Kohli and Williamson in England over the last few years but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.

4. We need to reward the West Indies and Pakistan for touring England

This has been one of the strangest summers of cricket ever and both Pakistan and the West Indies could well have refused to tour England. Thankfully they came and entertained the nation, albeit that the nation were on their sofas rather than in the stands. This loyalty to this hastily rearranged test schedule should call England to make some sacrifices in return. For the West Indies, a greater share of the income for the broadcasting rights or a longer tour in future. For Pakistan, a tour to a country starved of Test Cricket for so long.

5. Broad and Anderson have still got it... for now

With 45 wickets between them this summer and Broad being named man of the series against the West Indies, the test summer has shown that there’s still life in the old dogs yet. Will it be enough to keep their places in a winter that (according to the schedule) promises a tour to India? Barring any horrific injuries, expect them to both be present in the summer of 2021 too.

Test Team of the summer

Shan Masood (Pak)

Dom Sibley (Eng)

Zak Crawley (Eng) Joe Root (Eng)

Jermaine Blackwood (WI)

Ben Stokes (Eng)

Mohammad Rizwan (Pak)

Jason Holder (WI)

Yasir Shah (Pak)

Shannon Gabriel (WI)

Stuart Broad (Eng)

Player of the summer

Stuart Broad - A sensational comeback, after being dropped from the first test against the West Indies, Broad hasn’t looked back. 29 wickets at 12.92 has shown Broad to still be one of the best bowlers in the world. Often better when riled up Broad has torn through opposition batting line ups. He’s once stepped over the mark this summer (earning him a fine from the match referee, and Dad, Chris Broad).

Cult hero of the summer

Rakheem Cornwall - We were desperate to see him play from when we saw footage of him in the warm up games of the West Indies. Now the West Indies have headed home we just want to see even more of him. Followers of St Lucia Zouks are incredibly lucky to have such a gentle giant and fierce competitor in their squad.

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